Organizers say a lack of teams, who didn’t come for a variety of reasons, made nixing the tourney the prudent move

    In 2017 in downtown Crookston, the inaugural 3-on-3 streetball basketball tournament, featuring both adult and youth divisions, attracted 32 teams and was deemed largely a success by stakeholders and those who watched the action.

    But the second annual tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 27-28 was cancelled due to a lack of registered teams. This week, At Large Crookston City Council Member Bobby Baird, saying a lot of people had asked him why the tournament was cancelled, wondered at the council’s Ways & Means Committee what might have led to a lack of teams signing up and the event’s cancellation, only one year after it seemed so popular.

    Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle said a decent number of teams signed up, but they were spread so thin among so many age groups that it would have been tough to guarantee teams a decent amount of games without having them play the same teams repeatedly.

    City Administrator Shannon Stassen, mentioning Parks & Rec Administrative Assistant Andrea Prudhomme specifically, added that tournament organizers “worked extremely hard” to get more teams to sign up, but it wasn’t enough. Another, similar event elsewhere drew as many as eight Fargo-area teams who came to Crookston last year from coming back this year, he added.

    Stassen said organizers are “not giving up” and that they will keep trying to lure teams by making the tournament unique compared to many other summer basketball tournaments. “We need to differentiate from the millions of other things people could do on a Friday and Saturday,” he said. “It hurt to have to cancel, but it was the right thing to do.”

    Asked by Baird about the level of advertising of this year’s streetball tourney, Riopelle said the 2018 event was advertised more than the inaugural 2017 event. “We got a lot of reasons from people on why they couldn’t come,” he said. “We heard about lakes, and some people still had baseball going on.”

    Riopelle said different dates might be considered for 2019. To a suggestion from Park Board member Chris Fee that a midweek tournament might attract more teams because of all the AAU and other basketball tournaments typically held on weekends, Stassen said the overarching goal of the “sports tourism” initiative in Crookston continues to be “putting heads on beds” in local hotels and motels, and a midweek tournament might come up short of that goal.